Introducing Andrew Joseph :: Birth Story

Andrew Joseph Birth Story Newborn Photographer Shannon Sorensen Photography

Two weeks ago, I didn’t feel very good. Lily and I spent Sunday the 5th in the car, driving up to Central Massachusetts for my cousin’s baby shower. When we got home that night, I was crampy and achy, and I chalked it up to spending a lot of the day driving along bumpy country roads. But the next morning, I didn’t feel much better. I dropped Lily off at school, and every step out to the car, my belly felt heavy and low, like he’d fall out at any moment.

I told Sean it was probably going to happen that week. He got serious very quickly and we went to my doctor to get checked out. After a delightful cervix check (can you sense my sarcasm?), I was told there was no progress and to go home and rest. I had another appointment scheduled two days from then, so I figured maybe by then I’d see some progress towards labor.

We got home and called Sean’s mom to see if she could come down for the night. Sean is usually home on Mondays, but he was scheduled for overtime that night. She came right down to help with Lily so I could rest. We did some quick power cleaning and vacuuming and made sure our ducks were in a row, and I think at that point, we both knew any day could be the day.

Sean went to pick Lil up from school and I rested a bit. They got home, and his mother arrived shortly after. He left for work around 5, and I started making some dinner – chicken tikka masala in the InstantPot. I was just about done cooking around 6 and went to sit down on the couch while the rice finished cooking. I felt a little gush of what I thought was pee, and rushed to the bathroom, because when you’re 37 weeks pregnant, these things happen and no one wants to pee on their couch. I had some spotting and when I stood up to wash my hands, I had another gush of fluid. Nope, that wasn’t pee.

I called Sean and told him to come home – my water broke.

Things were a bit of a blur for the next hour. I sat in the bathroom so I wouldn’t leak all over the house. When your water breaks, the fluid comes out in gushes ranging from a dribble to a hearty gush, and it’s a weird feeling, because unlike pee, you can’t hold it back. Sean’s mom made sure Lily was eating dinner and happy, and she helped me gather some things. I called my mom to let her know plans changed and the baby was coming that night. Once Sean was home, he packed a bag and got everything out to the car. Then it was time to go!

I’ll be forever grateful Sean took this picture of me and my baby. I felt alllll the emotions hugging her goodbye, knowing all our lives were changing that night. She was so sweet and excited. Leaving her was incredibly hard.

At the hospital, we were brought up to labor and delivery. Sean wheeled me up as contractions were coming on faster and stronger. We got all checked in and prep for a cesarean began. I was reminded several times how difficult my veins were trying to get an IV in place. I was glad I had shaved my legs that morning. Sean let me squeeze the heck out of his hand with each contraction. Our nurse was an angel.

Around 10, we walked to the OR, which was conveniently about 20 steps from our room. Sean had to wait outside and I was given a spinal anesthesia. I kept laughing and cracking terrible jokes because I’ve discovered that’s how I deal with nerves. I’m so thankful that everyone in the OR was nice and kind and friendly, because nothing is more awkward than lying naked on an operating table under blindingly bright lights while the lower 2/3s of your body gets numb.

The next 15 minutes or so involved Sean coming in, both of us nervously waiting as surgery began, I could ever so slightly see my guts above me in the reflection of the lighting equipment, and after some rather strong pushing of my uterus, he came out and blessed our ears with the healthiest cry I’ve ever heard. The boy has LUNGS.

Andrew Joseph was born at 10:31pm on March 6, weighing 6lb 8oz and measuring 19 inches long.

He is a sweet, snuggly boy. He is happiest when cuddled up on someone’s chest. He has zero tolerance for wet or dirty diapers. The slightest mess and he wants to be fresh and clean. He is a nursing champ, which I am grateful for. So much of our first two weeks with him has been different from when Lily was born. Going into surgery not exhausted, and actually getting some sleep that night between feedings, put me in a good place to get up and walk the next day. I physically felt so much better after this surgery.

Having that first night to ourselves before any visitors came was worth it’s weight in gold. We had plenty of bonding time, and there was no pressure to let anyone in to meet him. Our moms arrived with Lily in the morning, allowing us to be rested and ready.

Getting to witness Lily meeting Andrew was the highlight of that first day. She held him, kissed him, sang to him and doted on him. She is an incredible big sister. The past two weeks have bee a big learning experience for all of us, but overall, she is doing great and I am so proud of her.

I am sitting here thinking today should have been the day we met him, and instead, we’ve already enjoyed him for two weeks. What a blessing. My heart is full. I’m the luckiest lady in the world to have the family I have.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the past two weeks.

Self-Portraits of Motherhood :: 01

There’s this photo of Tina Fey I’ve always loved. I remember seeing it and being struck by the realness, even though I didn’t fully understand the realness at the time. It’s a picture of her working at her desk, which is a mess, and her daughter playing under her desk, also in the midst of a mess. I think it was an ad, but I remember seeing that photo and was like YES! This looks like a life I could see myself living.

And 10 or so years later, I am. And I love it.

I didn’t know a year ago I’d be in this place, self-employed, actually in the middle of the life I’d hoped for for so long. But this is it. I’m here. It’s all that I want, but not without the hard stuff.

There are days I miss being around adults and having a place outside the house to work.

There are days I struggle with balancing being a badass bosslady and being a badass mom. Like, every day. I dream big about being supermom and having an overabundance of lessons and art projects and enriching things to do with Lil. And then there are days she watches PBS all day while I work.

The mess isn’t always the room I’m in, although there’s plenty of that. Sometimes the mess is in my head or my heart, yearning for the stability I used to have in knowing I’d be paid every other week, how much, and that we didn’t really have to worry.

I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, and so I’ve decided to begin a new series, for no one other than myself. But of course I’ll share it with you.

As a photographer, I’m always behind the camera. As a mom, I’m always taking pictures of Lily. I can’t wait to have #2 and seize ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHIC OPPORTUNITIES. I love photographing Sean and Lily together. Even if 90% of the photos are of them napping together. But it’s time to get in front of the camera.

We are blessed to live in an age of technology that allows me to work on a project like this. I’m blessed to be working from home and have the time to do this. I want to be in the picture. I want to show the beauty, the struggle, the love, the joy, the difficulty and craziness of motherhood and working from home and pursuing my dreams. More than that, I want my kiddos to be able to see me in their lives the way I do, in the every day, not just in a posed family picture every now and then.

I’m not sure how often I’ll post. It’ll depend on life, and it doesn’t really feel right to structure this in any way. But I’m excited to begin, and to share, and I hope it inspires you to also get in the picture.